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Devil's Coach Horse (Ocypus olens)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Devil's Coach Horse, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 11/12/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Devil's Coach Horse  
Picture of Devils-Coach-Horse
Picture of Devils-Coach-Horse Picture of Devils-Coach-HorsePicture of Devils-Coach-Horse

The Devil's Coach Horse earned their name in part for their vicious bite, but also for their stinky spray.

The all-black body of the Devil's Coach Horse is just the one reason to think this a nefarious creature. Its elytra (wing covering) has no shine and appears dull in any kind of light. The abdominal segments are easily to distinguish. This member of the Rove Beetle family can inflict a painful stab from its massive jaws to an unsuspecting human hand.

The Devil's Coach Horse takes on an interesting look when disturbed or threatened, giving potential predators as well as unheeding humans fair warning. It will raise its abdomen forward, akin to a scorpion and its tail, and then open an internal gland that shoots out a yellowish foul-smelling fluid.

Devil's Coach Horses are not native to the United States and originated from Europe. Despite being exotic, they have established themselves in the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. They normally prey on snails and slugs and can be found low altitudes and moist areas such as in parks and gardens where more regular watering may occur.

Picture of the Devil's Coach Horse
Picture of the Devil's Coach Horse

Devil's Coach Horse Information

Category: Beetle
Common Name: Devil's Coach Horse
Scientific Name: Ocypus olens

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Coleoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Staphylinidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Ocypus
       Arrow graphic Species: olens

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 17 mm to 33 mm (0.663 inches to 1.287 inches)
Identifying Colors: black
Additional Descriptors: pointy, biting, helpful

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Arizona; California; Colorado; Nevada; Oregon; South Dakota; Washington; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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